Healthy Ingredient Spotlight: Pecans

Packed with protein, vitamins and nutrients, pecans are delightful little nuts that should be a part of your daily dietary intake – not only for their delicious flavor, but also for their amazing health benefits. And don’t just think you have to have pecans as part of a sweet dessert or breakfast dish. These nuts are the perfect topping for any well-rounded meal. This South American nut comes from the hickory tree, which can produce nuts for over 100 years. What’s also impressive is the pecan has over 19 vitamins and minerals. Here are just a few reasons to head out and purchase some pecans:

Chock Full of Protein and Fiber

One cup of chopped pecans provides you with 10.9 grams of protein. Unfortunately there are the calories that go with that (about 685) so instead just add an ounce or two at a time to salads, wraps, soups, baking, cereals, smoothies or even pasta, rice and quinoa dishes. One serving (100g) of pecans gives you 10% of your fiber intake for the day, to help your body stay regular.

Help with Weight Loss

By keeping you full longer, pecans can help to promote healthy weight loss or weight maintenance. Pecans also help to increase your body’s metabolic rate, so you burn calories faster.

Unclogs Arteries

Pecans have a ton of unsaturated fat, as well as antioxidant and plant sterols, all effective in lowering blood pressure and ensuring arteries are clear. With zero trans-fats and no cholesterol, pecans are also good for the heart.

Antioxidants to Fight Cancer and Alzheimer’s

Pecans have the highest antioxidant content of any nut, making them terrific for health-conscious diets. Protecting cells from damage can help to keep the body healthy by preventing diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s.

A Healthy Prostate

The components found in pecans can help men ensure a healthy prostate, by helping to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. In fact, pecans (or more specifically, the type of vitamin E in pecans) may even be able to kill prostate cancer cells without affecting the surrounding healthy cells, something that researchers are testing to find out if a clinical application can be created.

More Minerals

If you’re having trouble ensuring your body is receiving the right amount of minerals, try pecans. These little nuts contain a host of minerals to keep your body in top condition, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Raw or toasted, pecans are very versatile and make a great addition to just about any meal, so give them a taste and enjoy the benefits!